Salt Lake City, UT -- (ReleaseWire) -- 05/19/2021 -- The last thing Sarah Burton remembers is standing in the kitchen of the dude ranch where she worked, waiting for her manager to bring her some fruit for the pizza she was making. What she doesn't remember is going with another wrangler to get the donkeys out of the field and falling off her horse and hitting her head.
In the six weeks following her accident Burton spent three weeks in the Intensive Care Unit at Intermountain St. George Regional Hospital — 12 days of which she was in a coma — followed by three more weeks at an acute care facility in Provo.
After enduring seven fractures in her skull and a sheering of the right temporal part of the brain, Burton knows the outcome could have been much different. She is keenly aware that her ability to tell her story as a survivor is thanks in large part to the high-quality care she received in the ICU.
"I don't have a lot of memory about it, but I appreciate what was done to save my life," Burton said.
Most of her information comes from her parents, who were so grateful for the care she received. Burton said they have told her many times that the only way they felt comfortable leaving her side during her time in the ICU was because they knew they were leaving her in the hands of incredibly competent caregivers.
"I know if I had been in another facility that didn't have as great, or as quality of care, my family would have had a much more difficult time leaving to get the rest they needed," Burton said. "Emotionally and mentally for them to trust the staff, that helped me to recover a lot faster."
Burton's experience with that kind of care is just one of many examples of the work being honored as part of Caregiver Appreciation Weeks at Intermountain Healthcare in Utah, Idaho and Nevada.
For Mitch Cloward, administrator for Intermountain St. George Regional Hospital, it's not just the pride he has in the sub specializations available and the fact that St. George Hospital is one of the largest trauma centers in the state of Utah. It's about the human connection the caregivers are able to make.
"Those human skills, on top of the technical skills, are what creates wonderful experiences for patients at our hospital," Cloward said.
While much of the celebration to honor these top caregivers is taking place internally within the healthcare system, Cloward said the community needs to know the great lengths so many of the caregivers go to in order to offer their patients the very best care available.
"We had one patient who was very sick with COVID-19 and the housekeeper cleaning the room would write messages of hope on the whiteboard," Cloward said. "It turns out it was those messages that gave the patient the inspiration to fight."
Another example Cloward recalls is the story of a caregiver who literally gave their patient the shoes off her own feet when they learned the patient had no shoes.
And several times Cloward has learned of caregivers who purchase magazines at the store for patients who are interested in a particular article.
"So many acts of kindness and compassion that really connect meaning and purpose to our work here," Cloward said. "It gives us all motivation to continue to serve and care like we do."
Recently Burton had the opportunity to return to St. George Hospital to thank the team who helped her during her time there.
"I've come a long way from when I was in the ICU," Burton said. "I wanted to meet the people who saved me; but also I wanted them to see the kinds of results their work leads to. I wanted them to know that they make a huge difference, even if they don't always get to see the end result."
"There isn't a gift greater than a person's health," Cloward said. "If we have the chance to give that back, or restore it or prevent other health issues, that's the reason we choose to be caregivers in healthcare."
About Intermountain Healthcare
Intermountain Healthcare is a nonprofit system of 25 hospitals, 225 clinics, a Medical Group with 2,600 employed physicians and advanced practice clinicians, a health insurance company called SelectHealth, and other health services in Utah, Idaho, and Nevada. Intermountain is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes and sustainable costs.
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